Sailing to Purgatory
The final scene in this true adventure shocked the author, too.

‘The reader will be enthralled as Paul, former Fleet Street journalist turned professional yachtmaster, takes us along on his ‘swallowing the anchor’ voyage, his retirement from the sea.

'This self-confessed newish ancient mariner … has spent almost a lifetime sailing solo, as both an ocean going competitive yachtsman, as a DoT Commercial Yachtmaster, and during his circumnavigation to become a singlehanded Cape Horner ... Sailing to Purgatory has all the roller coaster elements of a heart stopping adventure — drama on the high seas, observing life ... undersea volcanoes, a love interest, and waves high enough to scare the pants off most of us.’ - Brenda Vowden, journalist, avid reader






Home from the outside ... St Helenans,
'Saints', round their South Atlantic
island in Midshipman,
en route for Stockholm.


















Enterprising forebears ... The house Paul's father designed, and the car his paternal grandfather designed and built.














Running repairs ... crewman Declan checks rig fittings on the superyacht, Midshipman, which Paul sailed from the Cape to Sweden.


















Sail power ... Gavin's Howe's beautiful yacht in the Mediterranean.



















Rescue in the Southern Ocean ... Yachting World's international edition this month features Paul and Captain Fantastic in its Great Seamanship series.


















Pat and Gerry Adamson, two wonderful supporters get Spirit of Pentax ready for her circumnavigation.















Home sweet home ... St Helena islanders, after a voyage round their island home on the superyacht, Midshipman.


















Baptism of a Cape Horner ... Lady Chichester names Spirit of Pentax in a ceremony at Brighton Marina.
















Homeward Bound 2 is prepared for her attempt on the longest open boat record.


















Tri trials ... testing Paul's entry in the singlehanded race across the Atlantic are great friends Ron Pell, Jerry Freeman plus a keen helper.


















Cover up ... Bob Abrahams works on cover ideas for Sailing to Purgatory.

















Stocking up for 18 months ... Last minute farewells before Spirit of Pentax and Paul left on the long route to become Cape Horners.
















Death of a racer ... Baltic Wind flounders after running into a container in the South Atlantic. Paul and a lady shipmate spent eight worrying days in a liferaft.

How do you keep intimate notes private, to yourself, if you worry that ill-intentioned people are looking over your shoulder, hoping to give whatever you note the worst possible slant?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Justice, they call it ... A symbol of justice, and yet I'm far from certain of it after my experience of the reality of so-called justice. Thanks to Wikipedia and David Castor for his image of the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, London. Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79888236
I felt this dilemma after being ambushed by the corrupt former customs department two decades ago.

I was visiting friends of long-standing in Hampshire with my young daughter and fiancee.

Hardly had we stepped inside the front door than heavies of that corrupt and now disbanded customs department ambushed. The customs gang claimed I had been smuggling, bundled me into a waiting car, and took me off to Customs HQ at Tower Bridge, for interrogation.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was not to walk free again for a little over eight years.

In the first year or so, I still imagined I would be released at any moment. Even so, I began to record daily the ghastly utterly new experience of imprisonment.

A good friend's advice

Good friend - brilliant friend – the late Ron Pell visiting me for the first of many visits agreed that to keep my observations secret, I should use Teeline shorthand and he brought in a manual.

I began studying the method in earnest.

As batches of prisoners were taken to court, those who could read were glued to paperbacks and comics. I swatted Teeline and began using it almost right away.

Now I’m drafting a book about the deeply disturbing experience of false imprisonment by crooked bureaucracy. I need those diaries I kept for each day of the eight years-plus, and happily, I have the mound, the eight years of them.

But I hadn't so much as glanced at Teeline shorthand for many, many years.

On the treadmills

Consequentially, I’m having to relearn it with shorthand notes propped up in front of me on the treadmills of the local gym.

Someone looking over my shoulder this morning asked if the lockdown isn’t obviously driving me so crazy that I want to pass time gazing at weird squiggles.

There’s a definite purpose, I say, but in so many ways, the friend is almost right.

I simply can’t find any organisation that is truly interested in resolving injustice. That magic word 'justice' might be in their titles alright, and they ask for submissions, and I submit them.

No chance

But nothing, n o t h i n g, follows.

Presumably, in spite of their proclaimed interest in injustice, they know - as I am learning - there’s no chance of getting England’s justice wrongs righted, corrected. Why bother to reply, the organisations seem to think.

Should anyone know of an organisation that really does pursue injustice, I would be really grateful to hear of it.

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure writing. The blogs (as they call 'em) are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory,

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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook.

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